South Africa, Discover Exceptional Safaris And Cultural Experiences On A Self Drive Holiday.

South Africa is one of the world's greatest destinations and Cape Town, with its snowy peaks, excellent surf, vibrant nightlife and semi-desert wildlife, is the country's coastal showcase. From hedonists to hikers, the modern to the historical, wild wineries to urban townships, the city welcomes all.

Robben Island proves it didn't always. The prison, which held former president Nelson Mandela for 27 years, acts as a reminder for South Africa's political complexities; visit to absorb the history and to see brilliant views of Cape Town and Table Mountain.

The latter has spectacular views of its own. Ascent is easy via cable car, but for those wishing to walk, the fairly flat hike is worth the effort and the reward for reaching its horizontal summit is a stunning panorama of the city, Atlantic Ocean and the rest of Africa.

Beyond the naked eye is Kruger Park, one of Africa's most accessible and varied wildlife parks. Residing in its two million hectares are the 'Big Five' (buffaloes, rhinos, elephants, leopards and lions) and a safari tour is the best chance of seeing them. Visitors are also likely to come face to face with the park's other residents: giraffes, cheetahs and hippos.

Along the coast there is more to see; take the Garden Route where lush mountainside forests give way to white sands and warm water, and head to the Plettenberg Bay for whale watching. Whether on the savanna or sea, mountain or vineyard, South Africa is a destination that's all about diversity.

Check the exciting regions and itineraries we offer you below.

capetown

Cape Town is renowned for being one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Situated at the base of Table Mountain, it is the capital city of the Western Cape. Whether you are looking for history, natural beauty or city excitement, Cape Town has it all.

easterncape

The birthplace of Nelson Mandela, the Eastern Cape is scattered with traditional African villages and offers exemplary game reserves. Its long Sunshine Coast boasts a rugged beauty too.

gardenroute

The garden route is one of the 'must-sees' for most visitors to South Africa, and with good reason. Within just 300km, stretching from Mossel Bay to just beyond Plettenberg, there is a range of beautiful landscapes.

hazyview

We are pleased to introduce Hazyview to our programme for those wishing to visit the Kruger National Park. Near the Paul Kruger Gate, Hazyview derives its name from the summer haze that envelopes the low bush land.

johannesburg

Affectionately known as Jo'burg or Jozi, Johannesburg is one of the most vibrant and dynamic cities in South Africa. With its many theatres, museums, fantastic food culture and large shopping malls, there is plenty on offer for the many visitors that flock to this cosmopolitan metropolis each year.

krugernationalpark

Situated along the Mozambique border and covering close to 2 million hectares, Kruger National Park is the most well known, and one of the largest parks in South Africa. A number of private reserves run along the western border.

kwazulunatal

On the east coast of South Africa, this fascinating region offers warm weather all year round. You will experience a great mixture of adventure, big game, stunning beaches, magnificent landscapes and a rich culture and heritage.

pretoria

A beautiful, slow-paced city with plenty to see.

suncity

Sun City is a unique, premier holiday resort, offering an abundance of entertainment and a range of accommodation to suite many holiday needs. It offers many attractions including two world-class golf courses and the Lost City Water Park.

swaziland

The Kingdom of Swaziland may be the smallest in the southern hemisphere, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of Africa’s biggest adventures.

westerncape

The Western Cape, with its splendid scenery, has long been a magnet for visitors to South Africa. This is where you will find the Cape Winelands and a beautiful stretch of coastline with many popular beaches.

winelands

A short distance from Cape Town are the Winelands, South Africa's premier wine producing region. The stunning scenery, historic towns and beautiful vineyards all help to make this a great place to relax and enjoy the sights at a leisurely pace.

take_the_train

6 Nights

Start this 6-night tour in Pretoria, popularly known as the 'Jacaranda City' because of the thousands of jacaranda trees planted in its streets, parks and gardens.

kruger,_blue_train_&_cape_town

10 Nights

A superb 10-night itinerary which combines a safari in one of the best game parks in the world with the luxurious and world-famous Blue Train, and fabulous Cape Town, reputedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

south_africa_in_style

10 Nights

This itinerary features luxurious, 5-star accommodation at three of Red Carnation's most stunning hotels.

south_african_dream
11 Nights

This 11-night tour allows ample time to explore the bustling and beautiful city of Cape Town. Situated at the base of Table Mountain, it is the capital city of the Western Cape. Whether you are looking for history, natural beauty or ...
south_african_dream_-_garden_route_self-drive
11 Nights

This 11-night tour allows ample time to explore the bustling and beautiful city of Cape Town. Situated at the base of Table Mountain, it is the capital city of the Western Cape. Whether you are looking for history, natural beauty or ...
best_of_kwazulu-natal

9 Nights

Combine the beauty and adventure of the Drakensberg Mountains with the historical experience of the Battlefields and game viewing at Hluhluwe - Imfolozi Park before relaxing on the beach in Durban.

best_of_the_western_cape

8 Nights

The Western Cape is such a great self-drive destination, and on this nine-day tour you will see why. Great roads and picturesque locations make seeing the sights a superb experience.

big_5_&_cape_coastal_explorer

6 Nights

This self-drive holiday is perfect for the first time visitor to South Africa or for those restricted by time.

cape_town,_garden_route_&_safari

8 Nights

Cape Town 'The Mother City' is where this tour begins. The cosmopolitan beauty of this city is hard to ignore against the imposing backdrop of Table Mountain.

classic_garden_route_self-drive

10 Nights

With South Africa's superb infrastructure this self-drive itinerary is easy to navigate and a great way to see both Cape Town and the Garden Route.

drive_your_dream_journey
10 Nights

With your own luxury vehicle at your disposal, take in superb mountain views, vineyards, spectacular sandstone cliffs, birds, monkeys and even one of the world's great natural wonders, the Cango Caves.
infinite_garden_route

10 Nights

Spend 3 nights in Cape Town, one of Mother Nature's most successful achievements.

sabi_sands_&_cape_town

8 Nights

This 8-night tour combines the beautiful, cosmopolitan and bustling city of Cape Town with the excitement and fascination of a safari in the famous Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve.

safari_&_city_package

7 Nights

With four nights in Cape Town to explore this vibrant, cosmopolitan city and 3 nights in the wonderful Kariega Game Reserve to gaze in awe at the magnificent wildlife, this is a holiday to remember for a lifetime.

southern_expedition
9 Nights

This exciting 9-night tour allows plenty of time in the Amakhala Private Game Reserve to enjoy game activities and plenty of wildlife encounters.
southern_splendour

7 Nights

Enjoy a couple of nights in Port Elizabeth, known as the 'friendly city', and the chance to explore a sanctuary of gentle giants at Addo Elephant National Park.

sun_city,_safari_&_cape_town

11 Nights

Spend 4 nights at the extraordinary Sun City where there is plenty for the whole family to do. Then 3 nights in the Pilanesberg National Park on the look out for the 'big 5' and other wildlife.

supreme_south_africa_-_self_drive

12 Nights

For visitors to South Africa there is no better introduction than combining legendary Cape Town, the glorious Garden Route, amazing wildlife and the Winelands in the Western Cape.

world_in_one_country_-_standard

13 Nights

South Africa has long been described as a 'World in One Country' because of its incredible mix of cultures and environments.

magnificent_garden_route

6 Nights

The Garden Route in South Africa is legendary for its awesome natural beauty.

rainbow_nation_-_coach_tour

14 Nights

'Rainbow Nation' is a phrase favoured by Nelson Mandela to describe the diversity of cultures in South Africa.

Map

South Africa's climate is seasonal, getting quite chilly in winter (May-August). It's pleasantly warm and sunny in spring and autumn, and delightfully hot in summer (November-March) with frequent heavy tropical rains and hailstorms to cool things down. The thunder and lightening storms over Africa's big skies are quite spectacular.

Even in winters the chill is nothing comparedwith European standards, with mild frost occasional,and snow a rarity. The rainiest months in Cape Town are May to August, and Johannesburg receives most of its rain in summer.

Christmas can bejust too hot for game viewing in the safari parks, and it's also peak season for South African holidaymakers. Cape Town is a magnet for Jo'burgers at Christmas, so best avoided - visitin spring and autumn, when the weather is good and the crowds are smaller. Lightweight cottons and linens; rainwear. Warmer clothes are needed for winter.
PassportPassport RequiredVisa RequiredReturn Ticket
Required
Other EU Yes No/1 Yes
USA Yes No Yes
Canadian Yes No Yes
Australian Yes No Yes
British Yes No Yes

Yellow fever certificates are required if the journey starts from or passes through a country with yellow fever. Travelling with minors: As of 1 June 2015, children under the age of 18 will need to supply an unabridged birth certificate showing the details of both parents. If the child is flying with one parent only, a parental consent affadavit signed by the absent parent will need to be produced. Full details are available at the Department for Home Affairs (www.home-affairs.gov.za/index.php/civic-services/traveling-with-children). To enter South Africa, a passport valid for at least 30 days after the intended date of departure is required by all nationals referred to in the chart above. Passports must have at least two blank pages for entry stamps. Visas for South Africa are not required by nationals referred to in the chart above for stays of up to 90 days except: Nationals of Cyprus, Hungary and Poland, who may stay visa-free for up to 30 days. Nationals of (1) Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, who do require a visa. Nationals not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact the embassy/high commission for visa requirements. The Department of Home Affairs website (www.home-affairs.gov.za) has comprehensive details on visa requirements and exemptions and the relevant forms for downloading. If you are one of the few travellers subject to visa requirements, you should apply for your visa before you intend to travel. No visas are issued at South African points of entry. If you arrive without the necessary paperwork, immigration officials are obliged to refuse you entry. Nationals requiring a visa to visit South Africa must obtain a transit visa if travelling through South Africa to visit a neighbouring country. Visitor's visa: 35. Visitor's visa: up to 90 days. Consulate (or consular section at high commission/embassy). In the UK, VFS Global (www.vfsglobal.com/southafrica/uk) handles visa applications on behalf of the high commission; an additional 35 service charge applies. If you intend to work in South Africa, including any voluntary or paid employment or studies, you must apply for a work, study or exchange visa before you arrive. For applications in the UK, allow at least seven days for visa processing in the London visa centre and nine days for processing in Manchester or Edinburgh. Nationals requiring a visa must show bank statements with at least 600. If you need to extend your visa, you should contact the nearest branch of the Department of Home Affairs. If you plan to visit for longer than 90 days, you normally need to apply for a temporary residence permit. An import permit is required for all pets, applied for through the Directorate of Animal Health in South Africa. A 14-day quarantine period applies to dogs from many countries. Cats are exempt from quarantine. Animals must be vaccinated against rabies except those coming from the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Its worth checking first whether you will be allowed to take pets back into your home country again after they have been in South Africa.

Health PrecausionSpecial PrecautionCertificate
Yellow Fever No**
Typhoid Sometimes
Tetanus Yes
Rabies Sometimes
Malaria Sometimes*
Hepatitis A Yes
Diphtheria Yes
Medical facilities are good in urban areas but can be limited elsewhere. Doctors and hospitals often require immediate cash payment. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended to cover the fees of private facilities. The National Tourism Information and Safety Line is 083 123 2345. The general emergency services number is 10111. Netcare 911 (tel: 082 911; www.netcare911.co.za) is a private emergency service offering road assistance and evacuation, ambulances, private hospitals and emergency over the phone medical advice. No vaccinations are essential. However:

* Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga and northern KwaZulu-Natal are low risk malaria areas during December-April.

** A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over one year old arriving from an infected area.
Country Code: . To call home, the cheapest way is to use Skype or an international calling card like the WorldCall card from the national operator, Telkom. That lets you call any destination from a Telkom line, including those in hotels, at standard Telkom rates. Area codes are used even for local calls. Roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies. Coverage extends to most of the country except the very remote areas. GPRS for data coverage is also widespread. Airport kiosks can sell you a phone or local SIM card if you show some ID. Internet cafes are common in towns throughout the country and wireless is available at airports and in upmarket hotels. Most hotels charge for connectivity and it's far cheaper to find the nearest internet caf. South Africa's many broadcasters and publications reflect the diversity of the population. Freedom of the press is constitutionally protected and many newspapers have begun to flex their muscles with stronger and more critical political analysis. That includes fighting to retain their freedom, as a new bill that threatens to curb that right has been tabled. The main English language newspapers are The Daily Sun, The Star, Sowetan, The Citizen and weekly Mail & Guardian. International papers are widely available in hotels and airports, and a select few in newsagents and bookshops. One of the most well-respected and analytical news websites is The Daily Maverick (www.thedailymaverick.co.za). The state-run SABC and commercial E.tv networks broadcast nationally, and many viewers subscribe to pay-TV operated by Multichoice. The proliferation of commercial and community radio stations includes Highveld, Jacaranda, 702 Talk Radio and Classic FM. Airmail takes a minimum of two days to Europe, three days to USA and four days to Australia.

Generally Mon-Fri 0830-1530; Sat 0800-1100; longer in airports and shopping malls. The smaller post offices close for lunch 1300-1400.
Meat is big in South Africa, while its long coastline guarantees fresh seafood and numerous vineyards produce excellent wines. The restaurant scene is thriving, although South Africans tend to be fickle; what is hot one seasoncan disappear a year later. The country's cosmopolitan heritage means all types of cuisine are available, with fruity and sweet Cape Malay cuisine a speciality of Cape Town, and a strong Indian influence making Durban's curries divine.

Braais (barbecues) are hugely popular and most campsites, self-catering resorts and picnic spots have braai facilities.

National specialities:
Boerworst (a fairly spicy high-quality sausage).
Bobotie (a curried mince stew).
Potjiekos (a spicycasserole cookedin an iron pot).
Bredie (meat, tomato and vegetable casserole).
Biltong (dried meat,typically beef or venison).

National drinks:
Umqombothi (a home-brewed sorghum beer). Castle lager is also popular.
Excellent local red and white wines (including chardonnay), sherries and brandies.
Rooibos (a red-leafed tea grown in the Western Cape).
Amarula Cream (a sweet creamy liqueur made from the fruit of the Marula tree).

Legal drinking age: 18

Tipping:A tip of 10 to 15% is expected. Nightlife revolves around restaurants, bars and cinemas, with good nightclubs a little scarce. There's a thriving theatre scene, and the quality of stand-up comedy is improving. Some cities have art house cinemas that screen less mainstream movies and run offbeat film festivals.

Cape Town is the place for jazz, with several live music venues and an annual international jazz festival. South Africa is firmly on the international pop and rock circuit, and the local music scene is also flourishing sufficiently for most cities to have a scattering of live music venues. Classical music and opera fans will probably only get their fix in larger cities.

Football and rugby are national addictions, and many bars and some restaurants have large-screen TVs for sports enthusiasts. Shopping centres are far more common than shopping streets; the Gateway Mall in Durban is reputedly the largest in the southern hemisphere. However, areas where shops and restaurants spill out onto the streets are proving hugely popular, and are steadily becoming more common. Traditional African arts and crafts are sold in numerous craft markets, including Cape Town's V&A Waterfront craft shed and Johannesburg's Rosebank Mall craft market.

Impromptu craft stalls often appear at the side of the road, particularly on popular tourist routes, and some have become permanent attractions in their own right, such as the one between Johannesburg and Sun City.

Traditional crafts include wooden carvings, sandstone sculptures and bead work. Gold, diamonds and local wine also make excellent buys.

Visitors can claim a 14% VAT refund, minus commission, on purchases worth more than R250. You need to show your passport, flight ticket, the items and invoices to the refund desk in airports.

Shopping hours: Many shops stay open until at least 1800, and large shopping mallsand tourist spots generally stay open evenlater.
Rand (ZAR; symbol R) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of R200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of R5, 2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10 and 5 cents. Money can be changed at banks, bureaux de change and some hotels. Proof of identity may be requested so take your passport. Visitors are restricted to bringing in and taking out a maximum of R5,000 in cash. MasterCard and Visa are preferred. American Express and Diners Club are also widely accepted. ATMs are available in all towns, cities and shopping malls and most petrol stations, and accept international cards. Almost all hotels, shops, restaurants, national parks and game reserves accept credit cards. They are now acceptable at most petrol stations too, but since that is a relatively new measure, it's worth checking before you fill up. Valid at banks, hotels, restaurants and some tourist-orientated shops. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in Pounds Sterling or US Dollars. The import and export of local currency is limited to R5000 in cash. The import and export of foreign currency is unlimited provided it is declared upon arrival. Mon-Fri 0900-1530, Sat 0830-1100.
1.00 GBP = 16.65 ZAR
1.00 USD = 13.65 ZAR
1.00 EUR = 14.46 ZAR
1.00 CAD = 10.33 ZAR
Currency conversion rates as of 10 January 2017
The following goods may be imported into South Africa by passengers over 18 years of age without incurring customs duty: 200 cigarettes and 20 cigars and 250g of tobacco.
1L of spirits or liqueurs and 2L of wine.
50ml of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette.
Other goods up to a value of R5,000 (R25,000 if arriving from Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia or Swaziland); this allowance is valid once per person in a 30-day period and only if you have been out of the country for at least 48 hours.
Prohibited goods include narcotics, firearms, weapons and ammunition, poison, cigarettes with a mass of more than 2kg per 1,000, counterfeit goods, unlawful reproductions of any works subject to copyright, and prison-made goods. Restricted goods requiring an import permit include South African bank notes in excess of R25,000, gold coins, coin and stamp collections, unprocessed gold, endangered species, food, plants, animals, biological goods, and medicines (excluding three months' personal supply accompanied by a letter or certified prescription from a registered doctor). You may require a licence to export precious stones or minerals.
Below are Public Holidays for the January 2014-December 2015 period.
2016
1 Jan New Year's Day
21 Mar Human Rights Day
25 Mar Good Friday
28 Mar Family Day
27 Apr Freedom Day
1 May Workers' Day
16 Jun Youth Day
9 Aug National Women's Day
24 Sep Heritage Day
16 Dec Day of Reconciliation
25 Dec Christmas Day
26 Dec Day of Goodwill

2017
1 Jan New Year's Day
21 Mar Human Rights Day
14 Apr Good Friday
17 Apr Family Day
27 Apr Freedom Day
1 May Workers' Day
16 Jun Youth Day
9 Aug National Women's Day
24 Sep Heritage Day
16 Dec Day of Reconciliation
25 Dec Christmas Day
26 Dec Day of Goodwill
Holidays falling on Sunday are observed the following Monday.
Southern Africa. 1,219,090 sq km (470,693 sq miles). 53,675,563 (2015). 44 per sq km. Cape Town (legislative); Pretoria (executive); Bloemfontein (judicial). Republic. The Republic of South Africa fills the southern tip of the continent and is lapped by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Indian Ocean to the east, and a swirling mixture of the two at the very tip. It totally encloses the independent kingdom of Lesotho, and is bordered by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland to the north. A vast, interior plateau has sharp escarpments that rise above the lowland plains. Mountainous regions include the Drakensberg and Magaliesberg. The west coast is arid, while the south and southeast coasts are semi-arid, with vegetation fringed by sandy beaches and rocky coves. In contrast, the subtropical northeast has lush wetlands and coastal forests. The wildlife viewing areas are scattered throughout the country, with the famous Kruger National Park so vast that it encloses a wide variety of eco-systems. Of its nine provinces, Gauteng, which houses Johannesburg and Pretoria in the northeast, is the smallest and most densely populated. The Northern Cape is the largest province covering between a third and quarter of the country, but containing only a tiny percentage of the population in this territory of desert and semi-desert wilderness. The official languages are Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Siswati, Tshivenda and Xitsonga. Around two thirds of South Africans are Christian of some form including Catholics, Anglicans, Dutch Reformed or African independent churches. Many Africans believe in traditional healers called sangomas, who give readings including throwing the bones and provide spiritual and emotional counselling and dispense African traditional medicines or muti. There are also significant Hindu, Muslim and Jewish communities. Johannesburg has areas that the descendents of former immigrants have made their own, including Fordsburg for the Indian community and Chinatown in Cyrildene. GMT + 2. South Africas biggest cities are very westernised and hold few cultural surprises for Europeans. Handshaking is the usual form of greeting, sometimes in a more elaborate African handshake that foreigners will pick up readily. Casual wear is widely acceptable, especially in less formal Cape Town. Smoking is prohibited in public buildings and on public transport. The presence of so many diverse ethnic backgrounds certainly adds some spice outside of the main business centres. Rural areas most likely to be visited by travellers include Zulu land in KwaZulu Natal where communities are based in small traditional villages with round huts (rondevals) and a few hustling, bustling relatively poor towns.

In Durban youll be entertained by beach-front Zulu dancers wearing full animal skin tribal regalia. A more modern form of culture is the now commercialised Gum Boot dance, performed in wellingtons and mining outfits and developed in mens only mining hostels when entertainment was scarce. 220/230 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs have three fat round pins. President Jacob Zuma since 2009. President Jacob Zuma since 2009. Colonialism was taken to extremes in South Africa, with a white minority enforcing the system of Apartheid to subjugate the black majority. Decades of internal activism re-enforced by external sanctions eventually broke the system. The dismantling of Apartheid officially began in 1990 after negotiations between President FW De Klerk and jailed African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela.

The first historic one-man-one-vote elections in 1994 swept the ANC to power and Mandela became the country's iconic president. Mandela earned enormous international respect for leading South Africa into democracy with relatively little bloodshed.

Since his retirement the political stage has lacked such leadership or charisma, with his successor Thabo Mbeki doing little to combat the twin ravages of violent crime and an AIDS pandemic.

ANC leader Jacob Zuma was electedin April 2009 in a presidency so far more noteworthy for Zuma's headline-hitting personal life than for effective governance.

The legacy of Apartheid still shapes much about the country, its economy, education system, its workforce and the massively unequal division of wealth, and racial tension still occasionally flares up more than 16 years after the official introduction of democracy.

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